Winners of Narragunnawali Awards 2019 announced

Reconciliation Australia is delighted to announce the winners of the Narragunnawali Awards 2019 following an awards ceremony held on Ngunnawal Country (Canberra) this evening.

Congratulations to Maclean High School (NSW) who took home the schools category award for their strong and shared enthusiasm for reconciliation and for developing deep, ongoing relationships with local Elders and community members.

In recognition of building community trust in a challenging context, it was Forbes Preschool (NSW) who were awarded winners of the early learning category – congratulations to teachers and community members.

Reconciliation Australia Chief Executive Officer Karen Mundine said that each year the Narragunnawali Awards judges have a tough time separating the nominees from the finalists.

“We are so inspired by the contributions that students, teachers and broader communities are making to progress reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.

“For Maclean High School, our judges commented on a strong and shared enthusiasm for reconciliation felt right across the school – in classrooms, on the grounds and within the local community,” Ms Mundine said.

“There’s a real sense that Maclean High School is bringing others along with them on their reconciliation journey.”

Ms Mundine said the judges applauded Forbes Preschool for its approach to reconciliation in a relatively challenging local cultural context, where racism is otherwise quite prevalent.

“Courageous conversations are being had not only in the classroom, but also with families and community members,” Ms Mundine said.

“A focus on taking learning experiences out to community – rather than necessarily relying on community members to come into the service – is pleasing to see, as are purposeful reconciliation projects, such as the “pop-up preschool” initiative.”

Reconciliation Australia also congratulates the finalists in each category who were: Barefoot Early Childhood (Qld); Tamborine Mountain State School (Qld) and Moolap Primary School (Vic).

The Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education program, in partnership with the BHP Foundation, enables Australian schools and early learning services to foster knowledge and pride in First Nations histories, cultures and contributions.

The Narragunnawali Awards are Australia’s first and only national reconciliation in education awards that aim to recognise commitment to reconciliation in schools and early learning services.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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